Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) 1990–Present Day, Submarines (Victoria Class): HMCS Victoria SSK 876, Windsor SSK 877, Corner Brook SSK 878 and Chicoutimi SSK 879

Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)

Submarines (Victoria Class)

Data current to 23 June 2020.

Victoria Class Submarines

HMCS Victoria SSK 876, HMCS Windsor SSK 877, HMCS Corner Brook SSK 878, HMCS Chicoutimi SSK 879.

The Upholder/Victoria class submarines were designed as a replacement for the Oberon class for use as hunter-killer and training subs.  The submarines, which have a single-skinned, teardrop-shaped hull, displace 2,220 long tons (2,260 t) surfaced and 2,455 long tons (2,494 t) submerged.  They are 230 feet 7 inches (70.3 m) long with a beam of 25 feet 0 inches (7.6 m) and a draft of 17 feet 8 inches (5.4 m).

The submarines are powered by a one shaft diesel-electric system.  They are equipped with two Paxman Valenta 1600 RPS SZ diesel engines each driving a 1.4-megawatt (1,900 hp) GEC electric alternator with two 120-cell chloride batteries The batteries have a 90-hour endurance at 3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph).  The ship is propelled by a 4.028-megawatt (5,402 hp) GEC dual armature electric motor turning a seven-blade fixed pitch propeller.  They have a 200-long-ton (200 t) diesel capacity.  This gives the subs a maximum speed of 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) on the surface and 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) submerged.  They have a range of 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) and 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km; 12,000 mi) at snorting depth.  The class has a reported dive depth of over 650 feet (200 m).

The Upholder/Victoria class are armed with six 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes.  In British service, the submarines were equipped with 14 Tigerfish Mk. 24 Mod 2 torpedoes and four UGM-84 Sub-Harpoon missiles They could also be adapted for use as a minelayer.  The submarines have Type 1007 radar and Type 2040, Type 2019, Type 2007 and Type 2046 sonar installed.  The hull is fitted with elastomeric acoustic tiles to reduce acoustic signature.  In British service the vessels had a complement of seven officers and 40 ratings. 

During the refit for Canadian service, the Sub-Harpoon and mine capabilities were removed and the submarines were equipped with the Lockheed Martin Librascope Submarine fire-control system (SFCS) to meet the operational requirements of the RCN.  Components from the fire control system of the Oberon-class submarines were installed.  This gave the submarines the ability to fire the Gould Mk. 48 Mod 4 torpedoe.  In 2014, the Government of Canada purchased 12 upgrade kits that gave the submarines the ability to fire the Mk. 48 Mod 7AT torpedoes.

The RCN submarine's radar and sonar systems were later upgraded with the installation of the BAE Type 2007 array and the Type 2046 towed array.  The Canadian Towed Array Sonar (CANTASS) has been integrated into the towed sonar suite.   The Upholder-class submarines were equipped with the CK035 electro-optical search periscope and the CH085 optronic attack periscope, originally supplied by Pilkington Optronics.  After the Canadian refit, the submarines were equipped with Canadian communication equipment and electronic support measures (ESM). This included two SSE decoy launchers and the AR 900 ESM.  (Wikipedia)

HMCS Victoria (SSK 876)

(USN Photo, Ray F. Longaker, Jr.)

HMCS Victoria (SSK 876) diesel-electric longe-range hunter-killer patrol submarine off the West coast, 1 Oct 2004.

HMCS Victoria (SSK 876) is a long-range hunter-killer (SSK) submarine of the RCN, and is the lead ship of her class.  She is named after the city of Victoria, British Columbia.  She was purchased from the Royal Navy (RN), and is the former HMS Unseen (S41). The class was also renamed from the Upholder class.

 (USN Photo, Lt Ed Early)

HMCS Victoria (SSK 876) diesel-electric longe-range hunter-killer patrol submarine off the West coast, 12  Dec 2011.

 (USN Photo, Lt Ed Early)

HMCS Victoria (SSK 876) diesel-electric longe-range hunter-killer patrol submarine off the West coast, 12  Dec 2011.

 (USN Photo, Lt Ed Early)

HMCS Victoria (SSK 876) diesel-electric longe-range hunter-killer patrol submarine off the West coast, 12  Dec 2011.

 (USN Photo, Lt Ed Early)

HMCS Victoria (SSK 876) is moored in the Magnetic Silencing Facility at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor for a deperming treatment. Deperming reduces a ship's electromagnetic signature as it travels through the water.  13 Dec 2011.

HMCS Windsor (SSK 877)

  (RCN Photo, Alan Rowland)

HMCS Windsor (SSK 877), 15 Feb 2006.  She is named after the city of Windsor, Ontario.  She was laid down as HMS Unicorn at Cammell Laird's Birkenhead yard on 13 March 1990.  She was launched on 16 April 1992, and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 25 June 1993.  HMS Unicorn was handed over to the Canadian Forces on 6 August 2001 and sailed to Canada, arriving on 19 October.  The submarine was commissioned into Maritime Command as HMCS Windsor with the hull number SSK 877 on 4 October 2003.

HMCS Corner Brook (SSK 878)

 (Rick Anthony Photo)

HMCS Corner Brook (SSK 878), passing Fort Amherst and entering St. John's Harbour, Newfoundland.  She is named after the city of Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  She is the former Royal Navy Upholder-class submarine HMS Ursula (S42).  She entered service in with the RCN in 2003.

 (USN Photo, John Narewski)

HMCS Corner Brook (SSK 878) arriving at USN Submarine Base New London, 15 May 2009.

 (USN Photo, John Narewski)

HMCS Corner Brook (SSK 878) arriving at USN Submarine Base New London, Groton, Connecticut, 20 May 2009.

 (USN Photo, Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Myers)

HMCS Corner Brook at the USN Naval Submarine Base New London, 16 Aug 2010.

HMCS Chicoutimi (SSK 879)

(DND Photo)

HMCS Chicoutimi (SSK 879), in the Halifax dockyard, Nov 2012.  She is named after the city of Chicoutimi, Quebec (now a borough of the city of Saguenay) She is the former Royal Navy Upholder-class submarine HMS Upholder (S40).  

HMCS Chicoutimi was the last of the newly renamed Victoria-class vessels to complete the refit and was handed over to Maritime Command on 2 October 2004 at Faslane Naval Base in the UK.  Two days later, Chicoutimi set sail for her new home port at CFB Halifax, Nova Scotia.

On 5 October, HMCS Chicoutimi was running on the surface, through heavy seas 100 miles (160 km) north-west of County Mayo, Ireland.  Both hatches in the bridge fin lock-out chamber were left open and an estimated 2,000 litres (440 imp gal; 528 US gal) of seawater entered the vessel.  The seawater caused an electrical panel to short out, which in turn started a major fire and caused all power to cut out, leaving the submarine adrift.  Nine crewmembers were affected by smoke inhalation and the submarine was left drifting without power in heavy seas.  Three of the crew were airlifted by a Royal Navy helicopter for medical treatment after their condition deteriorated.  Lieutenant Chris Saunders, 32, became severely ill and died.  RN and USN ships towed the submarine back to Faslane.  After lengthy repairs, HMCS Chicoutimi eventually  completed her sea trials and was handed over to the RCN on 3 December 2014, and officially commissioned on 3 September 2015.